Sunday, 7 December 2008

red bean swirly buns

Life has been stressful lately. Bordering on insane, really. Consequently, I've been making food that's relatively easy in that it doesn't take much time, but that's really colourful and pretty and comforting. And what could be more comforting than warm homemade bread?

These don't take long to make. Only a few minutes to put them together the night before, assuming you have some red bean paste lying around (which we all should have, really), and the next morning they only take about 20 mins to bake. Mmmmmmmm.

Green tea red bean swirly buns. Apparently I just can't get enough of the Suessian-looking breads lately. A special but not sicky-sweet weekend breakfast. Bread part: whole wheat flour, a little bit of sugar (maybe a tbs for these 6 ginormous buns), yeast, salt, matcha, okara mixed with some water and almond extract. Mix, knead, roll into a giant rectangle. Cover with red bean paste (you can see this in the first picture), which is just aduki beans mashed with sugar and a smidge of salt... I like this not too sweet, so I make my own, but you can buy it ready-made if you want. Roll up like cinnamon buns and let rise overnight (second picture). The next morning, bake 5 mins at 220C, then 15 min at 180C, take 'em out of the oven, top with almond icing (soy or almond milk, icing sugar, almond extract) and devour (third picture, where you can see that I accidentally started devouring before remembering to take a photo).

Note: these aren't cake, or even remotely cinnamon bun like in texture. They're not very sweet (unless you drown them in icing), but they are very filling. They're dense and quite moist and yummy, and (without the icing) would go perfectly well with soup or a salad (I might have had one with miso soup for dinner later in the weekend). In fact, I suspect that these buns are what would happen if german-japanese baking ever happens.

A quick note on my obsessive use of okara in baked goods: I use it because I have it lying around. You can pretty much always sub in soy yogurt, or blended tofu. Or, if you want, soured soy milk (add lemon juice to soy milk until it curdles). You can also use ground almonds in water to make a yogurt-consistency paste, if you're so inclined.Note that these will make your baking slightly denser than the okara will, so you may want to step up the sugar (yeast food) and yeast. In this recipe, I have an okara-free version of the dough here, which just uses soy milk, and which makes a less cakey bread.

A quick note on the quick note: A good trick to make vegan baked goods rise more is to add a bit of baking soda (like half a tsp) to the dry ingredients, and then 2tbs of vinegar to the wet. Don't use this trick with yeasted breads, only with stuff you're putting in the oven soon after you mix wet and dry ingredients


Jake said...

These look very exciting. The Seussian colours are a little unnerving, but I think I can handle it.

Two questions:
1) can I leave out the matcha and just use green tea instead of water?

2) what could someone who doesn't make their own soy milk replace the okara with? Every recipe you post seems to call for it, but it's just not something I have kicking around, you know?

sinead said...

1) yes, but it will be a bit weak. Try putting green tea leaves through the blender or food processor instead. Matcha is just pulverized green tea.

2)soy yogurt or mashed up tofu (if you really don't have soy around or don't want to use it), ground almonds and water made into a soupy paste (but that could start getting expensive). Usually when I use okara in baked goods, I'm actually replacing soy yogurt/tofu.

medici said...

The very sight of these fancy Seuss buns makes me feel extra-swirly. And whirly. And a little bit girlie *gasp*. How queer I feel!

Mihl said...

So colourful!

Anonymous said...

...must make! gahh! Used up all my good flour, will get some tomorrow) how does the taste of these compare to mooncakes with bean paste? (although, I think mooncakes is a pretty broad term, and I dunno how to narrow it down any more than that)

sinead said...

hey vegandwhatnot...these vs. mooncakes: these are not sweets, and have no fat. they're really bread. mooncakes are sweets, and much, much denser than these. for example, when I make the filling, i use about 2 cups of beans and 2 tbs of sugar. you could easily modify these to make them sweeter, though, if a dessert is what you're after. i have to admit that apart from eating (a lot of) straight-up chocolate, i don't have a huge sweet tooth when it comes to baked goods. I like breads that are good with savoury things.